The "money" shell

Before their contact with white men barter was the only form of trade known to them, except that near the coast there seems to have been a fixed value for cowrie shells (Cyprea Moneta) in the number of small stock paid for them. These shells were highly prized for decorative purposes; they were worn as necklets and were also much admired on the full dress mantles worn by the women on festive occasions. (Note the cowrie shell was used as money in parts of Africa.

The Xhosa names for these shells were inGqoqo and inGcaca.